Lunch in the Landfill: How bad is your borough (how bad are you)?

Today East London Lines launch their new series, Lunch in the Landfill. This will be a four-day campaign aimed at helping you save money, reduce food waste and make the best of your weekly shop.

‘Small Change, Big Difference’, a charity advocating sustainable meals, publicly backs our campaign. Spokeswoman Charlotte Henderson said: “We firmly support this project as we want to help everyone in our amazing capital city make small, achievable changes that will make a big difference to their health, pockets and the planet. By concentrating on small changes we can help reduce the 90,000 tonnes of food, which Londoners waste each year.”

This series is a call to action in reducing food waste, which stems mostly from our homes and is most prevalent in the capital. Almost 60 percent of people believe they personally waste either no food or hardly any, according to research from Waste and Resources Action Programme.

However, food waste costs the average family of four around £60 a month, while the average person wastes around £200 a year.

Source: Lucinda Diamond (Pixabay)

On a national scale, 7.3 million tonnes of food were sent to the landfill in 2015, according to further research from WRAP. A large proportion of this is made up of waste from London, where 900,000 tonnes of food is thrown away from homes annually.

These facts are even more appalling when you consider that increasing numbers of people are now relying on food banks and struggling to put food on the table. The number of food bank users has increased from 41,000 to 1.2 million since 2010, as revealed by the Trussell Trust.

Milk, bread and fruit and vegetables are three of the most wasted foods in the UK. Pic. Lucinda Diamond

Despite many government-funded campaigns aimed at cutting household waste by 2015, such as ‘Love Food Hate Waste’, rates of food wastage have increased by 4.4 per cent in the three years following 2012.

Our campaign will combine a mixture of data, videos, interviews and articles to help layout the problem, while also profiling the creative firms who’re utilising surplus food in inventive ways… Including vegan mayonnaise made out of bean water and beer made from leftover bread.

We’ve spoken to local authorities, campaigners and many individuals living in Lewisham, Hackney, Tower Hamlets and Croydon, putting together a full picture of the layered mountain of food waste in our boroughs.

You can follow our campaign on our website and on social media, where we’ll be looking for local responses and finding out about additional initiatives that we may have missed. Get involved and tell us what you’re doing to limit the amount of food you throw away, as well as the nifty tricks that help you save!

Written by Luke Vance Barr and Holly Pyne
Infographics by Lucinda Diamond

Tower Hamlets produced 74.3 tonnes of food waste per 1000 people in 2016/17 - the equivalent of four lorries.

Croydon’s collected food waste has been reduced by 1412 tonnes of waste - a decrease of 13.4 per cent from 2013 to 2017.

Lewisham is one of the worst offenders in the country for burning waste - 82%. Only 17 per cent of waste is recycled.


Hackney's collected an estimate of 97.8 tonnes of food waste per 1000 people. The equivalent of 5 lorries.

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